Thursday, December 5, 2013

Arco Pass - Part 1

I'm an official lap top owner again and as I write this my Mountain Boy is taking a nap and so is my pup.
Kory over the past week or so has subversively taken to sleeping on the love seat instead of inside her cave aka crate.
She knows that she is not supposed to and doesn't even try to get up onto the furniture throughout the day.  But at night (when the house is dark and when she thinks that we are sleeping) she bounces up onto the love seat and curls up into the cushions.
If I get up in the night I hear her climbing down from the love seat.  As soon as I go back to bed she climbs back up.
In truth we don't mind.
After we bought a new living room set here in Idaho (that we paid more for than the $3 we had invested in a couch in Wyoming), LC and I decided that we wanted to keep Jamie (who shed a LOT) off the furniture.
It wasn't difficult to enforce.  By that time she couldn't jump up onto anything anymore.
We only had to tell Kory once and she understood and did not try to climb onto the furniture again.
Until recently.
When LC was hurting so much with a messed up back, he often slept fitfully (sometimes upright) on the couch.  Kory got into the habit of sleeping in the living room beside him.
And over the course of the past couple of weeks her dependence on her safe cave is diminishing and her appreciation for late night love seat sleeping is increasing.
It's all good.................

Early in October LC and I took a long drive in back of Arco.
It seems like such a long time ago since we took this trip.
Since that time LC has injured his back and his finger.  We have traveled to Northern Idaho to see my son.  We have lost a dog and gotten a new one.  We have traded a green truck for a white Tahoe.  We have gone from warm weather to deep freeze cold weather.
So many things in such a short period of time.............

We had done no research about the area before heading out onto empty BLM land.
It was October 6 - LC's birthday - and after eating an early lunch at a restaurant in Arco we impulsively decided to follow a road-side sign that we had seen that read simply "Natural Arch".
Blindly following signs, we unexpectedly found this wonderful place:
After leaving the arch, LC and I debated briefly what we should do next.
We were almost an hour from the house by this time and on a very beautiful and very sunny early fall day, we both decided as one that it was too nice to go straight home.
On our drive towards the arch we had also seen signs that simply read "Arco Pass".
In the mood to explore (and unperturbed about heading over the pass knowing nothing about it) we turned left instead of right, and quickly began to climb.............
Click on any pictures to enlarge them.
A small, muddy, nasty-water spring, located in the middle of a sage brush filled hillside...........
My little digital camera could not even begin to keep up with these antelope.
I zoomed in as far as I could without blurring them out, but they were just too far away.
This land reminded me so much of Wyoming.
Sometimes Wyoming just seems to far away, even though if you travel through the park we are only 295 miles from Cody.
LC climbed a number of hills that rose gradually, and we were both greatly enjoying a very lovely and extremely quiet day.
There is only 1/2 million people in Wyoming.  There are more here in Idaho although it is still not a highly populated state.  LC and I both greatly wanted and needed quiet - as the quote goes "places to play in and places to pray in" away (far away) from  people.
We had some concern that we would indeed be able to find that here.
But we can.  
And we have.  
And we will continue to.............
I miss the buffalo on the drive between Cody and Yellowstone Park
I miss the wild horses that were located so close to the house where we lived in Cody.
There are mountain lakes up around Mackay.
There are supposed to be wild horses somewhere near Challis.  
There are huge sections of national forest close to us.  In fact, on this day we found ourselves in only one small section of the Challis National Forest.
There is still so much that we need to see, need to explore.
There is so much here that I am not even aware of.
But on this particular day, as I stood beside the truck and looked back over terrain that we had already covered, I was again glad that we had decided to settle here.
It is beautiful..............
The back side of King Mountain............
The winding dirt road that we followed was in very good condition.  Few ruts.  Few rocks.  A good, solid, double dirt track and we continued to wind our way higher and higher over the pass.
LC and I had no idea where we were going to come out at the end of this drive.
Judging from where we had begun our drive (from Arco to the Natural Arch to the road that took us over Arco Pass) and judging from our many views of the back side of King Mountain (which we had only seen from a different vantage point in Mackay up until now), we though that we would eventually connect with a trail that would circle us down to Moore or Mackay.
In the meantime, LC stopped the truck often so that I could snap pictures.
This one I like very much............
At the top of the pass we found a map of the area and as LC studied it I wandered a little, trying to grasp the magnitude of this area.
I had looked at the map long enough to fully understand that the area we were currently exploring was only one very tiny section of the national forest.
It continued all the way to Challis and up to Salmon.
The largest wilderness area in the lower 48 makes up a large portion of the entire center of the state.
We were now in one tiny early-section of it.
We had stayed on the main "road" throughout our journey but there were many many trails that branched off from the main trail, and disappeared into the mountains.
The map quickly told us that this dirt road did not circle around to Mackay.
Looking at the map we realized that it actually turned east and we would come out not far from the tiny community of Howe.
Once we hit paved road again we would be about 30 minutes from the house............
Also at the summit of the pass, we began to see multiple tracks on the trail.
A wolf we think - and many deer tracks.
After leaving the summit and continuing in the same direction that we had been traveling for a couple of hours, we followed the tracks for miles.
The deer had been running.  Fast.  Straight down the dirt trail until they eventually veered off-road and disappeared in the sage..............
Many years ago, I climbed the mountains, even thought it is forbidden. Things are not as they teach us; the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky............. From a dying Star Trek character

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